Introduction

One of the most prominent, defining characteristics of “old time” Christianity is the magnified focus on the Resurrection. Back when multi-verse hymns were the primary songs of mainstream church services, it was hard to find a song that didn’t have at least one verse dedicated to the Resurrection. (Look at the last verse of “Amazing Grace”, for instance.) The Resurrection is not simply the end result of Christ’s ministry, and not just the central focus of His First Coming, but intended to be the central focus and end result for every Christian life. It is also supposed to be the central theme of the Gospel message and the starting point of discipleship and fellowship with among all Believers.

1Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “ Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

8And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

[Read v.1-10]

Q: When did this event take place?

A: “…as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” (v.1) All four Gospels specifically make the point that this is when the Resurrection occurred. (Mk. 16:2; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1)

Q: What was important about this particular day from a Jewish perspective?

A: It is what is known as the Feast of Weeks or First Fruits.

Point: According to tradition and the practices of the day, at this very same moment – dawn of the first day of the Feast of Weeks, the High Priest was on the Mt. of Olives clipping an olive tree for the ceremonial first fruits to be presented to God. Jesus’ resurrection literally fulfilled this.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

— 1 Corinthians 15:20

Q: Why was the stone rolled away? Was it necessary in order for Christ to come out?

A: The stone was rolled away not to allow Christ to come out, but to allow men to look in and see that He was gone.

Q: What is the same basic message conveyed both by the angel and Christ Himself?

A: They both told the women to go and tell others what they had seen. (v.7 & 10)

Application: The true Resurrection message is, “Come and see! Go and tell!”

11Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

[Read v.11-15]

Q: What do those who deny Christ have to do where He is concerned?

A: They must invent a way to disprove or discredit the historical fact that He rose from the dead.

Q: What is at stake where the Resurrection is concerned?

  1. As the Son of God He could not be held by death. (Acts. 2:24) It is proof of the Person and works of Jesus.

  2. Either He came out of the tomb or He was a liar. (Mt. 12:40; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:34; Jn. 2:19) It is proof of the message of Jesus.

 

Q: What other proof testifies to the authenticity of the Resurrection?

  1. Eyewitnesses testified they had seen Christ. (Lk. 24:33-35; Jn. 20:19, 26; Acts 1:3, 21-22) In fact, at one time over 500 people saw Christ alive. (1 Co. 15:6)

  2. The change in early Believers – particularly Peter and the others who abandoned Christ – proves He arose from the dead.

  3. Paul’s conversion proves that Christ is alive. (Acts 9)

  4. The existence of the New Testament, the continuation of the Church, and the significance of the Lord’s Day are all proofs that He is alive.

  5. The conversion and testimony of every individual sinner to this present day.

Application: Denial of the Resurrection requires using lies or engaging in deception to refute the historical record of God’s written Word and the testimony not only of the original eyewitnesses but every born-again Believer to this day.

16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

[Read v.16-20]

Q: If this were a made-up story, what would have been obviously omitted?

A: The statement in v.17 that “some were doubtful”.

Q: How does the place where this takes place fit with a running pattern throughout the whole of Matthew?

A: It is the last of a series of “mountain scenes” throughout Jesus’ ministry. These physical peaks mirror significant milestones of Christ’s life and teaching and show how the literal is often an expression of something greater spiritually taking place:

    1. The Sermon on the Mount. (Mt. 5-7)

    2. The Transfiguration (Mt. 17)

    3. The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24-25)

    4. The crucifixion on Mt. Calvary (Mt. 27)

    5. This final meeting in Galilee

Q: What are the four universals provided by Christ in what we call “The Great Commission”?

  1. All authority” (v.18). All authority was given by the Father to the Son because He had conquered Satan, sin, and death. Satan had taken Him to a mountain (Mt. 4:8-10) and offered Jesus what Jesus on this mountain possessed through faithfulness.

  2. All the nations” (v.19). Whereas the original command was only to “the lost sheep of Israel” (Mt. 10:5-6), it is now replaced with a commission to the whole world.

  3. All that I commanded” (v.20). The Great Commission does not require converts but disciples which are characterized by baptism (a public pronouncement of a life exclusively devoted to Christ) and being taught the whole Word of God (the visible proof of a live exclusively devoted to Christ).

  4. Always” (v.20). The end of Matthew mirrors its beginning when Christ was identified as “Immanuel” – God with us. (Mt. 1:23) More than just a name, it reflects the greater spiritual truth that Christ is always with us through His Spirit, in His Word, and His divine presence.

Application: Taking the message of the Gospel to all people is the primary responsibility of every Christian.

 

Overall Application

The Resurrection is the foundational doctrine of Christianity. It is what sets apart Christianity from all other religions and ideologies.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

— 1 Corinthians 15:12–14

  1. The Resurrection proves that Jesus is the Son of God. (Jn. 10:17-18)
  2. The Resurrection attests to the truth of Scripture. (Acts 2:31; Ps. 16:10)
  3. The Resurrection assures us of our own future resurrection. (1 Th. 4:13-18)
  4. The Resurrection is one of the proofs of future judgment. (Acts 17:30-31)
  5. The Resurrection is a central truth of the Gospel. (1 Co. 15:1-8)
  6. The Resurrection is the assurance of our future inheritance. (1 Pe. 1:3-9)
  7. The Resurrection provides the power to the Christian life. (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:18-20; Rom. 6:4)

he message of the Resurrection as conveyed by Believers to the whole world is the ultimate expression of forsaking the temporal nature of this earthly life for the eternal assurance of the one in Christ to come. End